2.05 Activity: Calorie Density

Lets take a moment to examine what you eat on a daily basis and figure out the average calorie density. This is actually simple to do, but having said that do not think that you have to do these calculations regularly. This is just a learning tool to help you see how many things that you may be eating may be quite high in calorie density. After this exercise, there is no need to ever do these calculations again, just stick to eating whole plant foods.

Here are a few facts you need to know to do these calculations:

There are 453 g in 1 lb

There is 16 oz in 1 lb

Liquid calories do not follow typical rules. When they are mostly sugar they are simply 1800 calories/lb

Now look at for example the bagel you eat for breakfast. The label may look like this:


One bagel is 85 g or 3 oz. So lets find how many calories per pound.

1 lb bagels = 453 g

1 bagel = 85 g

453 g / 85 g = 5.3 bagels per pound

The label shows each bagel is 230 calories. So 5.3 bagels x 230 calories is 1219 calories per pound!


This is how you can read a label and find out how many calories per pound for any food item you eat.

Pick a few items that you eat and see where they fall with calorie density. Perhaps the last video already mentioned a lot of what you eat, so find the items not mentioned and see where they are.

Now try your best to average things out. How many calories per pound do you eat on average? In the Obesity and Weight Loss section, we will have you calculate your “basal metabolic rate” to see how any calories you burn daily.

Do NOT let yourself get too focused on these numbers or bogged down in these details. On a whole foods plant based diet we do not do any calorie counting. You eat until you are full and then stop. However, understanding the concept of calorie density is important to reinforce the foods that you need to avoid to stay a healthy weight. Monitoring the calorie density of your food is NOT something that you are ever going to have to track or calculate on a regular basis.

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